Two miles away from you may your lover tremble with excitement,
one mile away may he bite his lip in anticipation

I would have journeyed to him unbidden,
my path from the temple fated and traced
by sandaled feet, dusty but eager
in their purpose, the way we find our gods.

What lives in him would spark
the fuse that drives and draws me
beside the spring where he comes to drink,
where I will lie down, naked and spread under sun
for the man who runs with deer.  

I have an appetite for gods
or the man ridden by them, still smelling
of the clay that shaped him, struck with light;
a man with hair longer than my own,
whose kisses taste like wild grass.

I am the one who opens and is taken
but when he stands again and turns
back to the deer, they no longer know him.
Like Delilah, I will cut his hair,
but openly, because love tames–
how many wild things are broken
by the women who lie under

***Italicized words are from Enkidu’s blessing to Shamhat, from the epic of Gilgamesh, via Stephen Miller.


***My choice for NaPoWriMo.  The prompt suggested using a non-Greek mythological source, so I went to Babylon for this one.  This is a slight edit of a poem I did a year ago.  It fits too nicely into the prompt to not use it.

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
This entry was posted in New Free Verse and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to Shamhat

  1. K. A. Brace says:

    Susan, I cannot tell you enough how not only beautiful and intelligent this poem is but how truly a work of art you have wrought. >KB

  2. Jesus, Susan, this is altogether beautiful.

  3. you have a truly remarkable talent

  4. K. A. Brace says:

    Reblogged this on The Mirror Obscura and commented:
    I met Susan Daniels on here quite by accident over a year ago and since that time her work has grown exponentially to become as subtle as a thin razor blade and a strong as a bloom of Queen Anne’s Lace. >KB

  5. ItMatterstoGrey says:

    Amazing to read.

  6. Words fail me 🙂

  7. Becca Joyce says:

    Oooh – love this! This is really good poetry. So glad I’m following your blog. It’s crazy good.

  8. This is simply breath-taking. Stunning and stoning. It nearly stoned me out – this image of a woman who opens, is taken but finally takes in the victor, soft bound but bound, hair,heart, hand and head. Susan, you are a great poet…..Like all great poems, this one subverts without seeming to. Religion and sociology converge in this delicate feminist song.

  9. Reblogged this on visionvoiceandviews and commented:
    a beautiful and engaging song, crafted by a great poet and subtle feminist! So proud of Susan, my duet partner.

  10. A sublime & sensual appetizer that nearly satisfies, yet lingers on the palette of the heart.

  11. jeglatter says:

    I just figured out why I love April…breathtaking!

  12. topazo says:

    captivating piece….

  13. Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

    “I have an appetite for gods
    or the man ridden by them, still smelling”

    These are fascinating lines, Susan. Especially the image of a man being ridden by the gods. I really like that. I read it over a number of times to see if I had it right in my imagination. 🙂

    • Thanks, Jeremy. I love the Epic of Gilgamesh. So much untapped inspiration in that story for me 😉

      On Wed, Apr 2, 2014 at 11:01 PM, Susan Daniels Poetry wrote:


      • Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

        I like epics too. I have a Finnish friend who gifted me a copy of the Kalevala. There is a lot in there too. 🙂

  14. Rhonda says:

    Okay…ditto to all that has already been spoken of the poetic genius that runs through your veins sfam…but I HAVE to and it takes NOTHING away from how beautiful this is….ready?

  15. Alice Keys says:

    “whose kisses taste like wild grass.” Dang, girl. I want to kiss this guy. What a luscious poem. 🙂

  16. ~ Sadie ~ says:

    Wow – just stunning!! LOVED it!!

Comments are closed.